10 Interior Design Ideas for Dark & Narrow Hallways

People often neglect their narrow hallways because they believe that nothing can be done to alter the dimensions of the space, so what’s the point of trying, right?

Well wrong actually, there are many things you can do to increase the visual appearance of a dark and narrow hallway and the advantages of doing so are threefold.

One: by lightening up your hallway you can create a more welcoming entrance to visitors.

Two: you can transform a neglected area of your home into a useful asset, such as a storage area.

Three: a light and airy hallway can attract prospective buyers.



Here for you now are some tips on how you can increase the appearance of light and space in your dark and narrow hallway/entrance.

hallway storage with chair

Photo by: Peter Alfred Hess

1. Clear away clutter

Hallways often get used as an unofficial storage area in homes and clutter can start to build up, making the space look cramped and dark. By making sure that the floor is clear of unnecessary junk, you can make your hallway floors look wider in appearance.


white hallway ceiling

Photo by: emdot

2. Paint the ceilings

Light colours on ceilings, such as cream, white or similar neutral shades, will create an airy feel. Even if your ceilings are already in a neutral colour, a fresh coat of paint in a lighter colour will rejuvenate the space.


White painted hallway door

Photo by: Brewbooks

3. Paint the Doors

Paint the doors that lead off from your hallway in a darker colour than the hallway walls. This creates the optical illusion of a wider hallway.


Hallway accent wall, green

Photo by: Joseph Mischyshyn

4. Paint an accent wall

If your hallway is very narrow, you can paint the wall at the end of the narrow hall in a warm accent colour (provided it’s not too dark). Doing this will create the feel of a wider hallway, by making it appear visually shortened at one end of the room. Warm accent colours that could work include red, orange and yellow shades.


White washed hallway floors

Photo by: Robert S. Donovan

5. Paint the floors

If your hallway and staircase has dark wooden floors, you could consider white washing them, painting them white or cream, or sanding them down, to give the illusion of a more light-filled space and create a Nordic feel.


Accent hallway lighting

Photo by: JamesDeMers

6. Use accent lighting

Adding extra lighting fixtures can change the feel of a hallway area in an instant and make it feel more welcoming. For example, wall sconces create warm pools of light on walls and visually draw visitors into the space. Pendant lights along the length of a long and narrow hall also reduce the appearance of dark shadows in the area and similarly draw the eye into the rest of the home. A simple table lamp on a console table will also create a warm and comforting pool of light for visitors.


mirror for a dark and narrow hallway

Photo by: Mark Skrobola

7. Use Mirrors

Mirrors add visual depth to a room, so consider placing one in your hallway to reflect the natural light. A horizontally hung mirror will also add visual width to a narrow space.


mirror for a dark and narrow hallway

Photo by: CileMontgomery

 8. Use Furniture

A slim line shoe cabinet in the hall can help you keep the space organised and can double up as a console table for your keys and letters. Also, like with painting an accent wall, a chair, or a feature painting can add visual width to a space (provided the furniture here doesn’t create an obstruction). Pegs or hanging racks for coats are also good for keeping clutter off the floors and if there absolutely must be shelf storage, consider hanging shelves at picture rail height, so as not to disturb the visual appearance of the hall at eye level.


mirror for a dark and narrow hallway

Photo by: Brian Moloney

9. Paint your Skirting Boards

Paint your skirting boards, dado rails and picture rails in a lighter colour than the rest of your walls, as darker colours will create a narrower appearance in your hall.


Bold bright carpet runner adds light to narrow hallways

Photo by: Carpet Runners UK

10. Invest in a Carpet Runner

Add a carpet runner to your hallway and stairs to create a welcoming feel, visual interest and to give the illusion of a wider space. A horizontally striped or patterned design will create the optical illusion of width more successfully than a vertically striped runner in the hall. However on staircases, a vertically striped runner draws the eye upwards and creates the feeling of more vertical space. Click here to see our stunning range of carpet runners for your small hallway.

If you have any more interior design hallway ideas, please share your thoughts in comments below.

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